Friday, July 5, 2019

Food Labels 101

Food labels, do you pay attention to those when you're shopping? If you don't, then I'm going to encourage you to begin now. When we become more aware of what's in the food that we're eating, then we can start to make better choices. Not only for ourselves, but for our family members.

I'm not talking about worrying about the calories or fat content. I'm specifically talking about the ingredients. It's no surprise that we should aim to be eating a whole foods based lifestyle, one with foods that are pure to the earth. One without a ton of processed food products and fast food.

A lot of times I find that especially as women, we can get caught up in reading how many calories we are taking in; but yet, not giving any thought to the artificial sweeteners and other crazy things that are put into our food.

I also get that not everyone cares like I do. I get it! But you should! This is your only body you get, it's up to us to take care of it. I don't expect you to be perfect, or to become obsessive. That's not exactly healthy either. I just want to help educate you and for you to be more aware.

So, where do you start?

The absolute first thing I want you to focus on is eating more REAL food. Food that doesn't come in a box or from the freezer with fifteen ingredients. If you're not used to eating like that, it will take some time. It won't be exactly easy, but I promise, it's worth it and you will begin to feel so much better! If you need help in getting started or not sure where to begin; email me and let's chat. I want to help you, so you can be around for a long time for your family!

Okay, moving on. Let's cover some ingredients you need to consider avoiding. I encourage you to educate yourself even more, do your own research, and you will need to decide which are important to you and your family. There are some ingredients that we absolutely avoid, and others that I try my hardest to but let's be real; it's not always possible. Especially when you eat out at restaurants or are eating with other friends and family. And let's be completely honest, there are times when the Oreos get tossed into the cart.

Pay attention to the following:
High fructose corn syrup
Vegetable, canola, corn oil
Aspartame, Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners
Anything that you cannot pronounce 

There are tons of additives and chemicals that are put into our foods everyday, and it's hard to know what they all are and what they do. But if you can just be aware, that is the first step in the right direction.

There's actually a rule you might have heard of; only purchase processed foods that contain 5 or less ingredients, minus salt and pepper or other herbs. Especially ones that you can read and know what they are. That might be something you want to keep in mind when shopping.

Get the kids involved, let them practice their reading skills and help them to understand why we're passing on the fruit snacks and instead choosing fresh, in season watermelon instead. Make it fun! If it's not around, they can't have it and are less likely to ask for it. Yes, it takes time and it's an adjustment. But, I promise, it's more painful on us than it is on them. Give it two weeks and I think they will come around and it won't even be a big deal anymore.

I certainly don't want to overwhelm you and I hope that's not how you're feeling today after reading. There is so much to learn and understand when it comes to ingredients and what's going into our food; it would be impossible to cover everything in one sitting. Keep doing your own research and learning for yourself. Follow along on my stories on both Facebook and Instagram so you can see more about what to be looking for when reading ingredient labels.

If I could leave you with a little homework, it would be this:
* Eat real food, the majority of the time
* Read your food labels in your pantry and when you're shopping; just look at the ingredients and see what's in there. It just might be enough to make you think twice about your purchases and to look for better alternatives.

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